A five-month case testing journalists’ right to name a convicted paedophile, whose name was read in open court, is set to reach the Court of Appeal.
Media companies, including Trinity Mirror, Newsquest and Times Newspapers, have taken their fight to name the 45-year-old man from West Norwood, South London to the highest possible level after Judge Warwick McKinnon ruled in June that the man should not be named.
Unusually, five judges have been appointed to hear the appeal – most appeals have three.
Lawyers representing the journalists are trying to overturn an order made under Section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 by Judge McKinnon at Croydon Crown Court in June.
The appeal, made under Section 159 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, is based on the media groups’ view that the judge had no power to make an order under Section 11, because the man had been named in open court and information covered by the order had not been previously withheld from the public.
Section 11 is designed to give anonymity to witnesses in sensitive cases but the defendant’s legal team successfully argued that it should be used to spare embarrassment to his two young daughters. Nothing can now be printed that may identify them.
The man admitted 20 counts of viewing and making images of child pornography, which were described as of a ‘high level of obscenity’in court. The defendant was sentenced on 2 April and served a community sentence.
Judge McKinnon originally made an order under section four of the Act although this was overturned.